Friday, May 29, 2009

My Husband Rocks Friday!

Wednesday night we went to a concert for my old high school choir. As our director was retiring after this year, it was also a reunion.

My girlfriend and I were the only ones from our school years that had our husbands there. Our old choreographer made a comment that our husbands earned a ticket to heaven because they sat in the back the whole time my friend and I were running around and saying hi to our old friends. He also commented that we must have great relationships with them.

Not only did he not complain, but I didn't feel at all rushed or like he dreaded being there. I think he may have actually enjoyed himself...especially since he had company.

Honey, you rock for encouraging me to catch up with old friends! Thank you for your patience, helping with the kids, and for valuing me!! I love you!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Thankful Thursday

  • Our high school choir director is retiring and we had a party at the last concert last night and we all got to go. It was great seeing old classmates!
  • Eating out with old friends.
  • After a late night my kids all slept past 10am!
  • Rusty is all smiles...even through his teething!
  • Our friend's death has been an eye-opener for my dad and others. He seems to be focusing more on what really matters...people/family.
  • Red's aloe plant was revived! When we moved it died and he recently saw it was back to life again. Praise God for a resurrection!
  • We have an easy to operate digital camera!
  • God gave us the gift of intercessory prayer!
  • I survived a long walk with both kids - one in the Moby wrap and the other in the stroller.
  • My car starts!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Our Garden

I posted about our first harvest already, but never about the garden as a whole. Here it is!

Red has done a great job! We're already pulling out cilantro! It'll be so nice to just walk outside when I need a certain vegetable or spice. Love it!

Posted by Picasa

He's Growing Up so FAST!

This morning he was chewing on my finger and what did I feel?! A TOOTH!

And here he is standing...

Ok, we leaned him up against the couch. But he has the leg strength! He just needs the balance now!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Baby Carrier Review

Thus far I have used three baby carriers with my kids, Bjorn Baby Carrier Active, the Maya Wrap, and the Moby Wrap.  We have a backpack carrier from REI and Red only used it once.  I also attempted to make a Mei Tai, but didn't make the side straps wide enough and it digs in...ah well!

Bjorn Baby Carrier Active
Price: $79.99-139.99
Baby weight: 8-26 lb.
Front carrier

We originally got the Bjorn carrier at Babies R Us because we had a coupon and were excited we were having a baby, wanting to get all the latest gear. With Karrots I used it a bit until I got comfortable with the Maya Wrap. I didn't have to worry about her falling out because she was extremely secure and the carrier was very easy to learn.

From the beginning, one part I didn't find helpful was the little fasteners for around a smaller baby's legs. They're difficult to find when you're wearing the baby and difficult to fasten. Also, the head rest doesn't seem to be set up well for to snap down when carrying the baby facing out. In fact, it seems like it would be extremely uncomfortable for the baby.

My girlfriend had borrowed this carrier for over a year and loved it. When I got it back recently I decided I didn't like nearly as much as my other carriers. For one, it wasn't as comfortable. It hurt my shoulders within the first 5 mins. For the fit, it's easy to fit it to my waist, but not so much my torso, which is probably why it's not as comfortable.

Another aspect I don't like is that the baby isn't directly touching you. There is a barrier of padding between you and your little one. For me, using a baby carrier is about more than being able to get things done and carrying your babies hands-free. It's also about the bonding of the skin-to-skin contact, which you don't get in this carrier. I guess that may make this one more ideal for some men.

Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Sling
Price new: $65.95-94.50
Price used: $39-59.95
Baby weight: premee-35 lb.
Works for twins
Front and side carrier

The Maya Wrap is what I used most with Karrots. I've posted about it a few times so I'm sure you all have an idea how much I've used it. (Check out posts here, here, here, and here.) It comes with a paper with basic instruction and a DVD that shows you step by step how to use the wrap in any position and gives other ideas as to its use. There is also a LOT in information on their website that will help you learn how to use it more efficiently.

The Maya is quite versitile in how I can place my kids in it, whether facing front, facing me, on my hip, etc. It's also great as a tie to keep a young baby tied to a high chair or shopping cart when they're not able to sit up by themselves or as a blanket so you don't have to lug one more thing with you. Their DVD and website mention using it as a leash, as well.

Many people have stopped me to ask about this wrap, stating how stylish it is. It comes in many fabrics, solid and patterns. It also comes in different sizes, (which I found to be a bit confusing when purchasing the wrap online).

Countless times my babies have fallen asleep in this wrap, which says a lot about how comfortable they think it is.

I enjoy using this sling for quick trips to the store. One feature I really like is the zipper pocket at the end of the fabric. I usually keep a burp cloth in it and can place my ID and cash in it when shopping so I don't have to bring a purse. It's also great for storing an extra diaper. Another on-the-go feature is the ability to use the rings to snap on you keys (if they're on a carabiner).

For nursing mothers, you can nurse your baby without having to find a place to sit down. Whether seated or standing, the end of the fabric can be used to help you nurse discretely. I don't find it as discrete as the Moby wrap, though, since the baby can throw off the fabric a lot easier.

After having Rusty, the Maya wasn't as comfortable for me. It made my shoulders sore as I started to feel the weight more there. It was quite uncomfortable for longer periods of time. Though I'm loving my new Moby Wrap, I still use the Maya for carrying him when I'm running into the store quickly or when I'm going from the car into a house, carrying all our luggage.

Moby Wrap
Price: $39.95-69.95
Baby weight: premee-35 lb.
Works for twins
Front and back carrier

I got the Moby Wrap after Rusty was born because of the pain I was getting from the Maya. I love it! Some of my friends and sister-in-law had owned it and bragged about how comfortable it was and they weren't kidding!

When shopping, there's a list of stores on their website where you can find them. I happened to find a boutique that was getting rid of their baby section and got a great deal! I've also seen them online at Target and Babies R Us.

This wrap comes with a fabric carrying case and little colored booklet that gives you step by step instructions in words and pictures. It also talks about the benefits of carrying your baby. The wrap is quite versatile, being able to carry the baby facing in (which I think is the most comfortable), out, on your hip, and on your back. It's also supposed to work well for carrying twins. The instructions and such are also on their website.

One reason I enjoy this wrap is that I love nursing in it! The book shows a breastfeeding hold where the majority of the baby's weight is held up and you only need to use one arm to position the head. You stick the baby through one of the side panels and can use the other side to help with being discreet. The online instructions suggest putting the baby's head in the fabric on the other shoulder, but I like to keep his head out and use that fabric to cover myself, like nursing in a shirt. You can also nurse with the baby upright in the Hug position, but I find it difficult to lower the baby without worrying about him falling out.

Another thing I like about this wrap is that it can keep you warm. I'm able to wear a tank top with it and pull the extra fabric over my shoulders. I haven't had to use this in very warm weather yet, so we'll see how much I enjoy this attribute then.

This wrap also comes in a variety of styles. The original wrap, which is what I have, comes in solid, print, UV protection and organic cotton, all varying in price. They also have Moby D, which comes with a special decorative fabric for the middle panel, and Moby Select.

If you need to carry your baby for a long time, this wrap is ideal! It distributes the weight evenly on your back, helping you avoid strains. The hug hold keeps the baby right where I would have him if I were cuddling with him.

My girlfriend recently borrowed this for a trip across the country and found it extremely helpful in cities like New York where there are a lot of people and no stroller room. We took it to Legoland last week and it was great. I'd take Rusty out to change him or whatever and he'd go right back in after. My sister-in-law wore him for a while as he slept in it, his head tucked away in one of the side pockets.

The biggest difficulty I've had is in putting the wrap on. It takes some practice to put it on correctly. The fabric is also quite long so it can be difficult to put it on outside (like right before shopping) while trying to keep it off the floor. It also takes some practice to find the right amount of tension you want on the wrap, i.e. how tight you want the baby to be. Along with that, it can be a bit strenuous to get the baby in the wrap at first if it's too tight. Thankfully, babies are extremely flexible!

One other downside is when he's faced outward his weight pushes into my stomach, which isn't comfortable for very long and makes me feel sick. Though it's a downfall, I haven't found a carrier that doesn't do this.

Price: $115-160
Baby weight: newborn (with insert) to 45 lbs.
Front, back and side carrier

Melody sure loves this carrier!  She does NOT like the Moby and the Maya was starting to hurt so I had to look for an alternative. I'd heard nothing but good about the Ergo Baby Carrier so I looked it up to see what it would cost. They're like $135 new! (You can get them cheaper on ebay or craigslist.)  So I told both my brother and aunt that I wanted one for Christmas. Used, older version, whatever! Here's what I got:

It was new in the box. After watching the instructional video I found it's one of the older original versions as it works a bit different. For example, the newer ones have both male and female snaps on the sleep hood strap that are to go in a D ring on the shoulder and be stored for easy access on a D ring where the black straps meet the body. This one only has the male snaps on the straps and no D rings...and it works great!  The only issue is that the hood straps are a little more difficult to find.  As you can tell from the above picture, Melody loves it! She even fell asleep in it the first time she was on my back!

This carrier comes with a little zippered compartment on the outside part of the body.  Impossible for the wearer to get to when the baby's on the back, but great for when she's on the front or hip.  I stored an extra diaper, baggie of wipes, debit card, and license in it...which is all I really need on the go with her.

As I mentioned, it comes with an attached sleep hood, which works great for keeping the sun out of her face, giving me some modestly while nursing, and for making sure her head some flop around while she's asleep.  It's still a bit loose for her when it comes to sleeping, but it helps some.

There are a few downers.  The hood doesn't store very well in the little pouch on the body.  It constantly comes out, which can make it difficult to figure out what you're grabbing at when putting it on.  The positive of holding your baby directly against you comes with the downside of them being able to spit up, leak diapers and wipe boogers on you...which they'd probably be doing anyway, just not down your back.

There are quite a few options with the carrier. Besides wearing the baby either in front, in back or on your hip, you can purchase a Heart2Heart insert for $25-38 to carry a baby that's 7-12 pounds or newborn to 5 months.  It makes it so your baby's legs are together and he doesn't slip out.  Other accessories are an attachable front pouch (fanny pack), attachable backpack, organic fabric for carrier and most accessories, attachable changing pad, teething pads for the arm pads, a weather cover, waist extender, and a papoose coat meant to cover both you and baby for colder/rainy weather.  Another fun accessory they sell is a doll carrier so your kids can be just like mommy ($25)!

It's been so nice to be able to have her on my back! She's happy while being out of the way so I can do dishes or whatever without having to lean over her. I'm SOOOO glad she likes it!

If you're tight on cash and are domestic minded (know how to sew) here is a great site that teaches how to make most of these wraps.